A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Collections can best serve agency objectives if current managers know the importance of various collection categories and why their maintenance is worth the investment of agency resources. Some items of Federal property are designated for preservation in perpetuity by Federal law. Others are needed to support, or "voucher," agency decisions related to resource management or science.
Items may be maintained in museum collections to honor government-to-government relationships with Indian tribes. Other items may be important gifts from individuals or governments.
Collections may represent decades of careful selection by generations of scientists or historians, and may contain specimens or artifacts no longer available for collection. Continuing access to collections may be essential to on-going agency mission activities and for compliance with environmental and cultural preservation mandates.
Federal collections increase in value overtime, and agencies have a fiduciary responsibility to maintain them in public trust for the American people.
Federal agencies acquire museum collections in many ways. The major reasons include compliance with government-wide laws and support of agency mission activities. These are illustrated in agency web pages.
Mandated by Law, Regulation, or Executive Order (The following are among the most frequently used mandates)
Its primary focus is the protection of archeological sites from looting, which was widespread in the southwest in the late 1800s, as it is now. The Act establishes the permit process for archeological excavation on federal and tribal lands in an effort to deter destruction of sites by anyone who is not a professional archeologist. It establishes fines and punishment for unauthorized excavation or looting. It also allows the president to declare historic or prehistoric sites or structures as national monuments, as President Clinton did several times during his presidency.
This law directs the expansion of the National Register of Historic Places to include cultural resources of national, state, or local significance; authorizes matching Federal grants to states and the National Trust for Historic Preservation for acquisition and rehabilitation of National Register properties; establishes an Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; and provides procedures in section 106 for Federal agencies to follow in the event a proposal may affect a property on, or eligible to, the National Register. It defines Federal Museum Collections as including both museum objects and documentation, and is among the laws instructing the Secretary of the Interior to issue regulations on the care and management of archeological collections. These regulations (36 CFR Part 79) were issued in 1990.
The Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) strengthened the permitting procedures required for conducting archeological fieldwork on federal lands, originally mandated by the Antiquities Act. It also establishes more rigorous fines and penalties for unauthorized excavation on federal land.
Curation of Federally Owned and Administered Archeological Collections